June 20, 2012 – New Canaan, CT
On most days, we get several questions about the Chevy Volt. On others, we seem to get bombarded. It seems the more Chevy Volts we deliver to customers, the more exposure the car gets and the more consumers all around the metro New York market ask questions.
If you’ve been visiting this site, you’ve read our reports on how well the Volt performs in real world use. But rather than us telling you about the Volt, today we thought we’d share the opinion of the automotive experts at Motor Trend Magazine. One thing is sure about automotive journalists – they are not shy about expressing their opinions!
Motor Trend keeps a small selection of vehicles in what they call their ‘long-term test fleet’. They keep these vehicles for one year and they see some fairly heavy use. Various Motor Trend Staff members will use these vehicles for everyday driving, company business, as well as longer road trips. In the case of the Chevrolet Volt, they have recently concluded their one year use and amassed 26,861 miles in the process. That is definitely higher than normal annual use, and, in all honesty, not the optimum for an Electric Car like the Volt. That said, the Volt performed brilliantly.
The full text of their report is below, but our favorite lines are these: “the real headline here is that nothing ever went wrong the car. Zip. Zero. It was breathtakingly reliable, given that the Volt is (and try arguing this with me) the biggest quantum jump in automotive technology in decades.”
Had Motor Trend taken delivery of their new Chevy Volt from KARL Chevrolet, we would have certainly reviewed our suggested maintenance plan which includes an annual oil change for the onboard gasoline powered generator. We have also suggested a six month service visit to allow our technicians the chance to rotate your Volt’s tires, complete a general vehicle inspection and ensure that all software is up to date. Other than that, you are looking at a car than can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce your vehicle operating expenses while being kind to the environment. It all adds up to a remarkable vehicle.
If you would like to experience what driving electric could do for your budget, please contact us to arrange a personal private test drive of the Chevy Volt.
CLICK HERE to View our Current Inventory of Chevy Volt models
CLICK HERE for details on KARL Chevrolet’s Freedom Volt Lease Special!
2011 Chevrolet Volt Verdict
With a Year Gone By, Its Time for Some Answers
From the August, 2012 issue of Motor TrendBy Kim Reynolds | Photos Motor Trend Staff
At 26,861 miles and during the very last week of its stay with us, our long-term Chevrolet Volt’s computerized maintenance warning finally illuminated: Time to change the oil. For the First Time. I’d been fretting about whether the remaining oil life display had gone haywire, and was actually headed for the dealer, anyway.
Of course, not all those miles had been gasoline-powered. And even then, the little 1.4-liter engine’s workload was fairly low stress — it doesn’t do a lot of revving. Even so, I had an oil sample taken and sent it to Blackstone Laboratories for analysis. Result? Traces of aluminum, copper, and particularly iron, were high. I sent the report on to GM for comment, and they replied that this was “within normal range.” Blackstone’s Andy Martin retorted, “Well, you can’t go wrong following what’s recommended, but…” Yes, if I had known this, I’d have changed it earlier, too.
So there we are. A final curiosity from the car I drove from Detroit to L.A. with my daughter riding shotgun, filled 66 times with gas, charged 271 times, and a thousand times politely answered questions like “aren’t you worried you’ll run out of electricity and stop?” and “afraid of it catching fire?” and “how much?” Now that the Volt’s year with us is up, it’s time for some answers.
I’ll start with those three questions I’ve heard so often. When the battery was depleted, the engine always started seamlessly. The Volt doesn’t “die” at the end of its EV range, as pundits have claimed. Nor did it ever erupt into a lithium-ion inferno. However, it’s quite evident from the car’s sales that it simply costs too much for most folks (a $32,495 base price even after the federal tax credit).
Still, the real headline here is that nothing ever went wrong the car. Zip. Zero. It was breathtakingly reliable, given that the Volt is (and try arguing this with me) the biggest quantum jump in automotive technology in decades. Spooky-advanced-tech cars like this, I’ve noticed, are actually frequently more robust than conventional cars because their engineers are playing it very, very safe, knowing that everybody’s watching with magnifying glasses.
“GM made big claims for the Volt, and our example lived up to every one of them”, stated Kim Reynolds of Motor Trend.
A close runner-up to that impressive reliability is the fact that the car operated exactly as Chevrolet claimed it would. Driven normally, our car usually traveled between 35 and 40 miles per charge (our average was 36.8; at worst, it was 24 miles; at best, 45). Our battery-depleted (gas-powered) mpg was 38.7 (the EPA says 37). Here, in Southern California, the Volt cost about 60 percent less to operate as an electric car than as a gas one.
Niggles? The car’s very low air dam (a mere 3.5 inches above the pavement) is essentially a sacrificial flap expected to scrape and flex; and ours become rather ratty-looking, though I regarded the marring as proud battle scars in the name of aerodynamic efficiency. (Even now, I’m still braking for small dips out of habit; a 1.2-inch-shorter substitute is available.) Another footnote was that filling the car with gas was sometimes balky, with the dispenser frequently shutting off. I found that holding it in a lifted position solved the problem, but, of course, you have to stand there and hold it.
A parting thought? To all the skeptical “gotcha” observers and disreputable political talking heads, I’d like to remind you of the 2001 Toyota Prius. I well remember driving it. It was homely. Its regenerative brakes were soupy. It wasn’t cheap. Many suspected that Toyota lost money on it, and its technology benefited from Japanese government support. It sold poorly.
Hmm, I just checked Prius (family) sales for April 2012, and guess what? It’s in third place among all cars, behind the Camry and the Accord. My point is, we need a much bigger perspective here. The Volt’s costs will come down. Efficiencies will be incrementally learned. Let’s meet up again in 11 years and see how the 2023 Chevrolet Volt is doing then.
Service life 12 mo/26,683 mi
Base price $39,995
Options Audio system with nav package ($1995), Premium Trim Package ($1395: heated leather seats, leather steering wheel, door trim), rear camera and parking assist ($695), polished aluminum wheels ($595), Bose Premium speaker system ($495) Price as tested / $45,170 ($37,670 after federal tax credit)
Avg econ/CO2 47.6 equiv mpg/0.45 lb/mi
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $126.36 (tire rotation, oil change)
Normal-wear cost $0
3-year residual value* $16,797
Recalls Battery safety enhancements (not an official recall)
*Automotive Lease Guide
2011 Chevrolet Volt
Drivetrain layout Front engine, FWD
Engine type I-4, iron block/aluminum head, plus AC electric motors
Valvetrain DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
Displacement 85.3 cu in/1398 cc
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Battery type 16-kW-hr lithium-ion
Power (SAE net) 84 (gas)/149 + 72 (elec)/149 (comb) hp
Torque (SAE net) 92 (gas-est)/273 (elec)/ 273 (comb) lb-ft
Redline N/A (4800 rpm max)
Weight to power 25.3 lb/hp
Transmission Cont variable auto
Axle/final-drive ratios 2.16:1/7.01:1 (hwy speeds, N/A below)
Suspension, front; rear Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs
Steering ratio 15.4:1
Turns lock-to-lock 2.8
Brakes, f;r 11.8-in vented disc + regen; 11.5-in vented disc, ABS
Wheels 7.0 x 17-in, forged aluminum
Assurance Fuel Max
Track, f/r 61.2/62.1 in
Length x width x height 177.1 x 70.4 x 56.3 in
Turning circle 36.0 ft
Curb weight 3767 lb
Weight dist, f/r 61/39%
Seating capacity 4
Headroom, f/m 37.8/36.0 in
Legroom, f/m 42.0/34.1 in
Shoulder room, f/r 56.5/53.9 in
Cargo volume 10.6 cu ft
Acceleration to mph
0-30 3.2 sec
Passing, 45-65 mph 4.8
Quarter mile 16.9 sec @ 84.3 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 112 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.82 g (avg)
MT figure eight 28.1 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 mi
warranty, eng; battery 5; 8 yrs/100,000 mi
Roadside assistance 5 yrs/100,000 mi
Fuel capacity 9.3 gal
EPA city/hwy/comb econ 35/40/37 mpg; 95/90/93 mpg-e*
Energy cons, city/hwy 96/84; 35/37 kW-hrs/ 100 mi*
CO2 emissions 0.52; 0.00 lb/mi (at car)*
Recommended fuel Unleaded premium or 110- or 220-volt electricity
*On gasoline; pure EV mode
Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/alternative/1208_2011_chevrolet_volt_verdict/viewall.html#ixzz1yNQAYdvB
Of course, since all those miles had not been gasoline-powered, the 1.4 liter generator engine barely gets a workout. Long term maintenance on this car should be very minimal – has any study been done to see the effect of many miles of electric driving? This car looks great by the way!